Synth Site: Alesis: NanoPiano: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.2 out of 5
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Sandro Binetti a part-time user from Bari (ITALY) writes:
Wonderful! Only a word. The quality-to-price ratio is enormous. Of course, the Korg SG-Rack sounds far better, but the sound quality of this Alesis module is over the top. Acoustic pianos are very good; the stereo samples are very impressive, but the panning, IMHO, is too wide. Rhodes are very good, Wurls ... the worst I've ever heard. The main among the pros is the DSP effector, absolutely noiseless, with a great sounding reverberation and rotary speaker engine. In a single word: wonderful.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-04-2001 at 04:30
Adam Lawrence a part-time user from Southeast MA, U.S.A. writes:
I'm quite impressed with most of the piano / E.P. patches on the nanopiano, hough it's not without its share of disappointments...

Let's start with the positives...

The main stereo piano patch is wonderful! Having had experience with many fine pianos, most notably a wonderful 6 or 7' (I think...) Baldwin grand at my last school. That said, I can sit down and play this single patch for hours (and I have). The main Rhodes patch is also fantastic, if a bit lacking in the extreme dynamics. There are maybe one or two serviceable B3 type patches (though even these could use a bit of EQ), and a decent combo-organ patch. I tend to be a bit picky about my Hammond sounds, having listened to many, and having played the A-100 my church used to have. I guess some of the others might be usable in a pinch, but... I believe I may be the only person who actually *likes* the strings in this box. They don't sound just like the real thing, but what does? Several of the string patches remind me of the old Mellotron strings, and that's a good thing. The 1st string patch is, imho, pretty good, and great for ballads and such, but not for any faux-orchestral stuff (but I'm not sure I'd use sampled strings for that kind of application, anyway). Synths are cool, a few patches I find useful for Floyd covers (one sounds pretty close - with some EQ - to Shine On, You Crazy Diamond, another is great for the Brain Damage/Eclipse solo). There's a "Jump" style synth brass patch or two, useless to me, but probably not for others. The effects sounds are cool, but I'm not sure that I'd ever use any of them. The pads are pretty good, if mostly pretty generic. Overall, though the real standouts are the Piano and E.P. patches - not surprising considering the name of this module.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-15-2000 at 10:30
Ray Wood a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I bought a QS6.1 after I purchased my nanoPiano. The interesting thing is that, without a doubt, I prefer the Rhodes sound from the nanoPiano above any of the Rhodes sounds on my QS6.1. I am into that funky blues Rhodes sound which guys like Jeff Lorber and George Duke get. I have yet to hear anything in a music store which beat my nanoPiano for that sort of sound.

Acoustic piano is another story. A lot of the acoustic piano programs on the QS6.1 are named the same or similar to the nanoPiano's, but going thru the same amplification system in my bedroom, I prefer the QS6.1 for acoustic piano. And, note that I don't have the Concert Grand QS card, which is supposed to have even better acoustic piano sounds.

The only thing I use my nanoPiano for is its Rhodes sound, but that is good enough that it alone made buying it a smart deal.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-27-2000 at 16:52
Garth D. Wiebe a part-timer user from USA writes:
First of all, it is futile to expect that we have the technology to duplicate the sound of an actual piano, especially close up. The entire instrument is a complex three-dimensional structure that cannot be done justice with a pair of stereo speakers, no matter how good the samples are.

Second of all, the technology does not exist in the form of memory capacity to sample all keys of a piano at all modes and weights of attack, including the three foot pedals that are not really just on/off switches.

That said, we are left with settling for a compromise in one way or another. My desire would be to own a brand new, 9-foot Steinway. But that would cost $80,000, a price I doubt that I would be willing to pay even if I had that much money, which I don't.

I ended up purchasing the Alesis NanoPiano. Having listened to the two demo tracks I found at http://kurzweil-europe.de/demo/sd_kmp1.htm, I would judge the Kurzweil Micropiano to be the better instrument, at a street price of $100 more. The Yamaha box spoken of by other posts under this heading now appears to be no longer available, so I abandoned my search for it.

The Alesis NanoPiano is made for stereo, and does not sound good in mono. The stereo image is exaggerated, so will appeal more to those who are more interested in hearing a rich stereo image than those who are interested in something that sounds more natural. Consequently, I find the NanoPiano to sound more natural at some distance from the speakers, such as when someone else is sitting in front of the keyboard and speakers playing it and I am somewhere else in the same room.

Not only does the NanoPiano does not retain any settings upon power-down, but it doesn't look at the position of the "effects" knob upon power up or upon a bank or program change. When you power it up or change the bank or program, it assumes that the "effects" knob is at the 12:00 position. It only "reads" the knob when you go to change it. This is a real nuisance. Unless the 12:00 position is where you already have the knob set, you have to go wiggle the knob to get it to respond to where you have it set. It took me quite a while to figure this out.

Another thing that I have noticed is that if while holding the sustain pedal down you play the same key on the keyboard twice, it will cancel the first envelope in progress and substitute the second. So for example, if you play a note once loudly, you can actually mute down that note by hitting it again very softly. This goes against the simple physics of the hammers striking a real piano string twice. Obviously, the NanoPiano is not smart enough to deal with that.

The NanoPiano has many other non-acoustic piano and non-piano patches, which are at the caliber of a late-1980s synthesizer (not trashy, but not state-of-the-art, either.)

Aside from the above criticisms, I am reasonably satisfied with the NanoPiano, and feel that it is worth the $300 that I paid for it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-26-1999 at 20:18
Russ Breem a hobbyist user from USA writes:
It's obvious that some like it, some like it not. I personally like the spaciousness in the acoustic piano's, but that's only when you're playing it stereo. And it's not only the space that lacks when used mono: the sounds you may love in stereo, are quite ugly then. It means, in my opinion, that this unit is only worth considering when you are able to amplify it full stereo. Not only in small rooms, but on stage as well. The stereo-effect may not be coming thru in a large audience (not to blame the nanopiano, but that's how acoustics works), but the overall soundquality needs the two channels to be independently amplified. When you're a piano student, this may not be the unit to go for: I haven't found any way to get it respond to a damper or sostenuto pedal. Only the sustainpedal is recognized. It may be my limited midi knowledge, so you should check this if you have classical ambitions.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Feb-03-1999 at 07:48
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